June 1, 2004

June 1, 2004 | WebMemo on Health Care

Bitter Pills #10: Why Can't Other States Be Like Indiana?

Medicare discount drug cards are available for the first time ever today (June 1). In addition to substantial savings on retail drugs for all seniors, the cards provide low-income seniors $600 in annual subsidies to help them buy prescription drugs.

But in Indiana, some seniors can double their savings through prescription drug cards.

How did the Hoosiers do it? Easy, according to Heritage Foundation health care expert Derek Hunter. They changed Indiana's own drug assistance program, the HoosierRX Drug Card, to compliment the Medicare drug card program. It sounds mundane, but because of this change, Indiana's low-income seniors who qualify for the $600 subsidy also will receive a total of $1,200 in additional benefits through 2005, Hunter writes in a May 26 research paper.

The other 49 states should follow Indiana's lead. Then, Hunter writes, "…low-income seniors would realize significant savings on out-of-pocket costs while taxpayers would see future tax burdens shrink." The Bitter Pill? Congress kills the program in 2006. Read more of Hunter's paper, "The Truth About The Medicare Drug Discount Card," here:

For more information or to receive an e-mail version of "Bitter Pills," contact chris.kennedy@heritage.org or call Heritage Media Services at (202) 675-1761.

"Bitter Pills" is an occasional, but regular, feature from The Heritage Foundation on how the 2003 Medicare drug law is full of sickening "surprises" that have serious consequences for seniors and taxpayers. Of course, The Heritage Foundation isn't surprised at all. We diagnosed the problems long ago in ourMedicare Maladies series. Both Medicare Maladies and Bitter Pills are available on heritage.org (if you can stomach them).

About the Author

Related Issues: Health Care